Tick, tock, Tupperware cop

On the Radar — He’s bisexual. He’s an ex-cop. He hates ticking clocks, but he loves Tupperware. The man we’re refering to is the rather unusual 80s detective Duffy. Irish author Dan Kavanagh’s character is back thanks to Orion, which is reprinting the entire series of four books with some moody photographic covers. They’ve been described as ‘very grubby’, so… perfect reading for Easter? Well, maybe not but that’s where we’re going to start with this week’s new releases.

Duffy NewDuffy by Dan Kavanagh
Today sees a return to the bookshelves for Duffy, the bisexual former London policeman first introduced by Dan Kavanagh way back in 1980. The series is being reprinted by Orion and in the first novel you’ll be immersed into a seedy Soho setting. Our anti-hero, Duffy, has a sliding scale of ethics and some strange characteristics, like a fear of ticking watches and a great love of Tupperware. Duffy agrees to work a case for Brian McKechnie, who has a trio of problems: a murdered cat; an assaulted wife; and some serious blackmail. There’s grit, grime, sex and violence. The new Duffy is out today as a hardback, and the second in the series, Fiddle City, is being reprinted in August.
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Quiet DellQuiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips
Sometimes novels based on real life crime hit the spot, and other times they are well wide of the mark. You alone must judge this latest recreation. In 1931 Chicago a widow is facing her problems. First there’s grief for her recently departed husband, and secondly the financial worry over how she’ll continue to provide for her three children. When an apparently wealthy benefactor takes a warm interest in the family Asta hopes she has found a guardian angel. Within weeks, however, this saviour has turned into the Angel of Death, and all the family are dead. A pioneering female journalist takes an interest in the case, and is determined to bring the killer to justice. It’s out on 24 April for Kindle.
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the-toe-tag-quintetThe Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon 
Matthew Condon is an award-winning writer who was born and brought up in Australia, went to university in Germany, and now works as a journalist in his native Brisbane. This book is a collection of short stories, all narrated by an un-named former Sydney cop. He has seen the best and worst of humanity in his sweat-stained corner of Australia. His long-suffering wife tries to keep him grounded, but she has her work cut out. Faced with declining physical powers and with his friends getting fewer and fewer in number, our hero plies his trade in the darker spots the Queensland city, and Condon has a field day contrasting the grim reality of suburban Australia with the technicolour images of its beach resorts. The Toe Tag Quintet is out now.
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Phone Call From HellPhone Call From Hell & Other Tales by Jonathan Woods
You might be able to tell from the title that this collection of short stories are from the darker end of the pulp genre. The phone call of the title is from none other than the craziest of the crazies – Charles Manson. The stories – 17 in all –  are set in exotic but lurid locations both in the tropics and on the back streets of big cities in the United States. Sex, violence, treachery and malice are tied together by brilliant one-liners such as: “A wave of lust oozed over me like the melted cheese from a perfect enchilada.” And all that’s washed down with enough drugs and alcohol to fuel the 1960s over again. The collection will be available from New Pulp Press on 20 April.
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Yet Another Death In VeniceYet Another Death in Venice by Tim Heald
Tim Heald began writing his Simon Bognor whodunnits in 1973, and has filled the rest of his time working as a journalist and as a royal biographer. There’s quite a contrast between Prince Phillip, for instance, and Bognor. The latter is a shambolic figure, disorganised and badly dressed, but has found himself with a knighthood for his work with the Board of Trade. The book is set in a city called La Serenissima and it’s carnival time. The streets and waterways are teeming with exotically masked Harlequins and other symbolic figures. A movie mogul’s holiday is brought to a rather grisly end when he’s hit by a crossbow bolt while on a sightseeing cruise on a vaporetto. Bognor must set aside his naturally lazy demeanour to catch the murderous archer. Out on 22 April.
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necropolis smallNecropolis by Guy Portman
The author has labelled this work as a piece of transgressive fiction (you know, the kind with a chaotic, nihilistic or mentally ill main character), and here introduces the narcissistic loner Dyson Devereux. He has a passion for detail, is an avid reader of military history, and has absolutely no empathy with other human beings. He has just been promoted to the Head of Burials and Cemeteries in an imaginary Essex local authority. As he struggles to tolerate his work colleagues, he finds a startling resemblance between a war crimes fugitive from the Balkan wars in the 90s, and a worker at one of his cemeteries. Thousands of Euros are being offered for the capture of the Beast of the Balkans, and as Dyson pursues the reward Portman delivers a tale of dark humour, and an indictment of politically correct modern Britain. Check our site in the next few weeks for the full review, but the novel will be available from 24 April.
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Dry BonesDry Bones by Peter Quinn
Dry Bones completes a trilogy which began with Hour of the Cat (2005), followed by The Man Who Never Returned (2011). The books feature World War I veteran Fintan Dunne who now earns a living as a private investigator. Here the story moves to the end of World War II and Dunne now faces a world where communism poses the next great threat. On the eve of the Cuban revolution, Dunne tries to balance his own experiences, which include the horrors of Auschwitz and slaughter on The Western Front, with modern pressures to forget old enmities and forge new alliances. If the previous books in the series are anything to go by, this should be a taut and tense historical drama with immaculate period detail and an appreciation of political ambiguity. It’s out on 24 April.
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WolfWolf by Mo Hayder
Mo Hayder first shocked crime ficiton lovers with her dark and violent serial killer story, Birdman, back in 1999. The Bath-based author has since become a fixture in the UK best-seller list. In Wolf, DI Jack Caffery is back to investigate a case which begins with a stray dog being turning up with a message saying ‘Help us!’ attached to its collar. Caffery is soon knee-deep in a mystery that points back to a cold case – the murder of two teenage lovers. There’s also a grand local family with more than its fair share of skeletons rattling away in its cupboards. The author has been called ‘the queen of hardcore, in high heels’, so prepare yourself for yet another disturbing murder mystery. Available from 24 April – watch for our review.
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